Wind turbines, designed as an alternative to fossil fuels, still contribute to climate change due to the way they redistribute heat and moisture in the atmosphere, according to a study published on Thursday.
Researchers from Harvard University found that powering the entire US with wind energy would cause a 0.54 degree Celsius ground temperature rise in the area where the turbines were located, and a 0.24C increase across the continental US. “Wind beats coal by any environmental measure, but that doesn’t mean that its impacts are negligible,” said David Keith, senior author of the study, published in ‘Joule’.
The researchers and other scientists stressed that climate change from greenhouse gas emissions is clearly a far bigger threat globally and over the long term than turbine-caused warming, which is temporary and stops when the blades aren’t turning.
Despite the potential drawbacks, wind energy still makes more sense for the environment than fossil fuels, Keith said. It’s just that advocates of wind power have been ignoring growing evidence of a downside, he said. Read More